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A flettner airplane is a type of rotor airplane which uses a Flettner rotor to provide lift. The rotor comprises a spinning cylinder with circular end plates and, in an aircraft, spins about a spanwise horizontal axis. When the aircraft moves forward the Magnus effect creates lift.
Anton Flettner, after whom the rotor is named, used it successfully as the sails of a ship. He also suggested its use as a wing for a rotor airplane.
An inherent safety concern is that if power to the rotating drums was lost—even if thrust was maintained—the aircraft would lose its ability to generate lift as the drum slowed down and it would not be able to sustain flight.
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